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“Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’ t jump out
Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work now
We are god of stories but please tell me
What there is to complain about”
– OneRepublic, Good Life

2011 has been a year that I never would have expected.  Like every year, I suppose, there were many things that could have gone much, much better.  And then there are those fantastic moments that define not just that place or time, but help to further define you.  To paraphrase Lynn Hall, not to grow, but to become more clearly yourself.

Goodbye to Grand Rapids.

This year had all of that, the terrible and the tolerable and the marvelous and the mundane that make up each day.  But this year had so much more of it all.  2011 was a year that I lived.  Started anew.  Whatever it should be called, this was my year to try it, and not always, but when I feel it counted, succeed

In many ways, I cannot help but feel that I lived more in 2011 than in the last few years combined.  So many important and life-altering things, and I hope that I was able to capture at least some of them properly in this blog.

Many firsts; swimming in an ocean even though I had been to plenty, whitewater rafting, riding a motorbike down a mountain at night, among others.

Marquette Harbor in Lake Superior, on a mild day. Where I spent the winter.

  • After several months of resumes and office interviewing, it became clear to me that I had no desire to pursue a job like that.
  • I spent the winter living on Michigan’s third coast along the frozen shores of Lake Superior.
  • I left and later lost touch someone I truly cared about.  I had never wanted it to happen like that.
  • I lost two grandparents.  And came close to losing a third, my last living grandparent.  Luckily he pulled through a heart surgery on 30 December and is doing much better now.

    Pina Coladas, a lifesaver at Isla Verde beach in San Juan.

  • I ran.  I hate to think of it like that, but given everything that was going through my head this spring, that’s all I really can call it.  And it turned out being the best thing I could have done.
  • I spent 2 weeks in the tropics, re-vitalizing myself to that freedom of travel.

    A cloudy day in Central Park.

  • I spent 2 weeks on a boat in the open Atlantic, relinquishing that freedom.
  • I sailed through the Bermuda Triangle.
  • I returned to Boston, the city I had idealized since I was 13 and gave serious consideration to staying there.  But, New York and more beyond that called.  Maybe someday.
  • I returned to a place I have been too many times, and found it as repetitive as ever.

Jeff and I at a bonfire party my first night on Mackinac Island. Before all the predictability of another season set in.

  • I restarted my life, twice, in different parts of the world.  I’m hoping this second one takes.

“And so, ever an end but never the end,” my toast to New Year’s this year. Out with 2011 and on to New Year’s 2012, recognizing what has come, while knowing that more is coming.

“I had something better waiting ahead. I try to take control of my heart.” – Story of the Year, Page Avenue

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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